Circonflex accent – accent circonflexe

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Let's Define It!

What's a *circonflex* accent?

The accent circonflexe [circonflex accent] is this little character resembling a hat (^).

  • Generally speaking, a circonflex accent is used to "open" a vowel.
  • It can go above all the five vowels of the French alphabet a, e, i , o , u.
  • It can serve to lengthen the pronounciation of a certain vowel sound.
  • It sometimes results from the deletion of a letter with certain modern words, oftentimes, an [s] that used to exist in the past --> tête for teste (head)
  • It also indicate a lengthened vowel: le vôtre (yours)
  • It also serves to differentiate ortographically (i.e. spelling) two similar-looking words (sur vs sûr / du vs dû)
  • When applied on [e], it sounds like e accent grave.

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Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?

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Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Take a look at the circonflex in actual words.

  • une fenêtre / window
  • une île / island
  • un bâton / stick
  • bientôt / soon
  • une flûte / flute
  • une mûre / blackberry

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